Saturday, March 05, 2011


This survey has been percolating for the last twelve months. Finally, the Task Force (NGLTF) and the National Center for Transgender Education (NCTE) have released findings from the most comprehensive survey ever directed towards the trans community. The results are seriously disturbing. Suffice it to say, preliminarily, that standards of living and working for trans identified individuals are well below national averages. And suicide rates are soaring.

Link to Preliminary Findings (8 pages):

Link to Full Report (228 pages):

Link to Docudharma whose excellent Blog has examined this study:

Over six thousand transgender and gender non conforming individuals were queried regarding an entire gamut of issues. Areas covered in this in depth report include education, employment, health, family life, housing, public accommodations, identification documents, police and incarceration. Much of this column will be comprised of actual citations from the study. The conclusions cannot be overstressed...injustice at every turn!!

Three meta trends were remarkable (quoting from report):

1. Discrimination was pervasive throughout the entire sample, yet the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent, structural racism was especially devastating. People of color in general fare worse than white participants across the board, with African American transgender respondents faring worse than all others in many areas examined.
2. Respondents lived in extreme poverty. Our sample was nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000/year compared to the general population.

3. A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population,2 with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low household income, or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%).”

By category:


78% of respondents reported harassment as a student in grades K through 12, 35% of it defined as physical violence. There is evidence of a consistent negative impact of school experiences upon individuals throughout their lives as a result of these experiences.


As might be expected, these conclusions evince serious problems. Unemployment is fully double the national rate. 90 % of respondents reported harassment in the workplace, 46% had negative job outcomes like having been fired or denied promotion, and 26% had actually been fired. Across the board, the impact of adverse employment scenarios was marked in all respondents.

Housing discrimination & homelessness

19% had been refused housing and 11% had been evicted directly as a result of their gender identity and/or expression. 2% are currently homeless, although 19% reported having experienced homelessness at one time or another. Of this group, 55% had been victims of discrimination vis a vis emergency and shelter housing. As far as home ownership goes, the number of trans persons who own their own homes falls well below the national average...less than half...32% contrasted with the 67% national average.

Public accommodations

“Fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies.” That’s over one half and to any way of thinking unacceptable. Places where respondents had experienced discrimination include retail stores, restaurants, hospitals, police stations, transportation carriers, legal clinics and a handful of other milieus. Treatment of gender diverse persons ranged from services denied to harassment and even physical violence.

Acquisition if ID documents

Only one fifth of respondents had fully matching and corrected ID’s. One third hadn’t updated any ID documents. This includes, but is not limited to, birth certificates, social security cards and driver’s licenses. Regarding the latter, 41% reported not having a license which matched their gender expression.

Police and Prison

One fifth of interviewees stated that they had experienced harassment at the hands of police. Of those who had been incarcerated, 16% had been subject to physical violence and 15% had been sexually violated. Almost half of the respondents expressed fear if they had to interact with the police.

Healthcare (quoting from report):

• Health outcomes for all categories of respondents show the appalling effects of social and economic marginalization, including much higher rates of HIV infection, smoking, drug and alcohol use and suicide attempts than the general population.
• Refusal of care: 19% of our sample reported being refused medical care due to their transgender or gender non-conforming status, with even higher numbers among people of color in the survey.
• Uninformed doctors: 50% of the sample reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care.
• High HIV rates: Respondents reported over four times the national average of HIV infection, with rates higher among transgender people of color.viii
• Postponed care: Survey participants reported that when they were sick or injured, many postponed medical care due to discrimination (28%) or inability to afford it (48%).

Cumulative effect

The report finds that 63% of those who responded had experienced discrimination as a result of
their identification as trans and 23% had experienced catastrophic discrimination which may
have included several or many discriminatory events or prolonged discrimination.


“It is part of social and legal convention in the United States to discriminate against, ridicule, and abuse transgender and gender non-conforming people within foundational institutions such as the family, schools, the workplace and health care settings, every day. Instead of recognizing that the moral failure lies in society’s unwillingness to embrace different gender identities and expressions, society blames transgender and gender non-conforming people for bringing the discrimination and violence on themselves.
Nearly every system and institution in the United States, both large and small, from local to national, is implicated by this data. Medical providers and health systems, government agencies, families, businesses and employers, schools and colleges, police departments, jail and prison systems—each of these systems and institutions is failing daily in its obligation to serve transgender and gender non-conforming people, instead subjecting them to mistreatment ranging from commonplace disrespect to outright violence, abuse and the denial of human dignity. The consequences of these widespread injustices are human and real, ranging from unemployment and homelessness to illness and death.”

Injustice at every turn...

Comments and corrections can be sent to
To contact Robbi Cohn, email